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An Interview with Master Yoga Teacher Baron Baptiste

From a tiny cabin overlooking the Puget Sound on Camano Island on vacation, I sat at a little wood desk having a friendly conversation with Baron Baptiste, the man whose book, 40 Days to Personal Revolution changed my perspective and my life. Those who know me know that I’m always on a path of self-discovery. I digest spiritual and inspirational reads with great enthusiasm, seeking out new perspectives, travel to open myself and my family up to new experiences, and am eager to share my discoveries to inspire others. Despite this, my intro to Baron and the 40 Days of Yoga practice came at a time in my life where I was spiritually drained and ready for a change of perspective, and it slapped me upside the head.

Like many moms, juggling roles, wife, mom, daughter, friend, chauffer, master calendar coordinator, business owner, and endless other tasks, I was exhausted by idle ‘busy-ness” and trying to be everything to everyone all the time and always putting myself last. It was during a meditation session during the 40 days of yoga that I had my a-ha moment – I am the author of my story, and no one else can write it for me. If I didn’t like how I was living, I had the power to change it and it was OK to give myself permission to make time in my life for those things that bring me joy.

So much of Baron Baptiste’s teachings are much more than the physical practice of yoga – it is about transforming your body and mind and giving people the tools to live a more healthy and authentic life. Each day, I try to lead by example with the experiences I share with my family as I pursue my passion, with the posts I share here on this blog, for the travel experiences I create for friends and family, and the retreats I put together to inspire other moms to seek that which fuels them and share that enthusiasm with others. It’s contagious.

Baron’s energy and passion for cracking people wide-open to what’s possible in their lives is contagious. I first met Baron in person at The Foundations in Action training in Seattle last spring. As a dad of three boys and the son of yogi parents who traveled the globe with him in tow, he shared with me his insights on how yoga has many lessons that extend far beyond what happens on your mat. It’s about taking what you learn when you step off your mat that counts. As the Yoga Journal conference in Estes Park, Colorado kicks off this week and hundreds of yogis take to their mats in the mountains to practice with Baron and other master yoga teachers, I am inspired and [finally] able to sit down and write about our talk and share it with you. Baron and I talk kids, travel and breaking out of your comfort zone:

Q: Parenting is one of life’s greatest gifts and biggest challenges. With three kids of your own, what principles guide you as you raise your own children?

It’s so easy to be reactive with our kids. They push our buttons, test us. But if you can come from your center, shift your vision of the situation, and just breathe, you can come from a place of strength and equanimity.

Q: One of my favorite quotes of yours is, “The question to ask is not will I survive if I step out of my comfort zone, but will I survive my comfort zone?” How can parents apply this to their life?

It’s easy to want to accommodate things that are fun or entertaining, known. Part of that is that the known is safe. To venture outside of your comfort zone is something special. Unique.  [and often yields great rewards].

Q: You grew up traveling the world with your yogi parents. What experiences traveling as a child do you believe shaped who you are today?

Traveling the world always made me appreciate home. We traveled to third-world countries all over the world, and across Asia and Europe. I always appreciated coming home. Travel opened up my horizons to experience different cultures. What I gained is life education and getting to know people, understanding cultural differences. Despite our differences, at the core of humanity we are all looking for a deeper connection.

Q: Fear of the unknown keeps many parents from exploring the world with their children in tow. What advice do you have for moms and dads who want to travel but are afraid of taking that leap?

I took my boys to Kenya last summer. For the first half of the trip we were on safari, and we got to share this incredible and unique time together, to relax, experience and be pampered. Then we visited the villages and slums of Nairobi, where families are fighting to survive. It was an extraordinary experience and gave us all a deep sense of gratitude for what we have. Travel is the great teacher and worth sharing with your kids.

Q: It’s easy to lose yourself as a parent in the daily hustle and bustle. How does yoga help us stay connected to ourselves, so we can give our families what they need to grow?

Parents, moms and caregivers need to remember to care for themselves – to create time and space to practice, to rejuvenate themselves energetically. Yoga practice is all encompassing – at a muscular level you are releasing and clearing out toxins and anxious energy, and deep breathing creates a clearing out of old energy so you can start fresh and approach a new way of being.

Baron is the author of several books, including the illustrated yoga book for kids, My Daddy is a Pretzel. You can find more of Baron’s teachings, workshops and retreats at BaronBaptiste.com

Thanks to Baron and the Baptiste team for carving out time in an extremely busy schedule to share these insights and inspiration.

Namaste.

 

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